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Thread: What hay should I use? Can I use lucerne? Does fresh grass replace hay?

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    Cavy Slave SonicexA's Avatar
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    What hay should I use? Can I use lucerne? Does fresh grass replace hay?

    I'm worried because we were just feeding our 'pigs fresh grass and pellets (with veggie treats) and no hay. Just now I was looking at diet guides on this website and they say guinea pigs should have a biscuit of timothy hay every day. However I live in NSW, Australia, and I don't know where I could get any timothy hay. We own some bales of lucurne and also some barley, so could I use them?
    I would prefer not to use hay and just give them fresh grass if I could, though.
    Thanks stacks.

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    Cavy Slave SonicexA's Avatar
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    Re: What hay should I use? Can I use lucerne? Does fresh grass replace hay?

    Also my Kim has two babies, if that makes a difference I don't know.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: What hay should I use? Can I use lucerne? Does fresh grass replace hay?

    If your pigs are over six months old, you can't use lucerne. It's a legume, like peas, not a grass hay. And it's got way too much calcium in it for adult pigs -- you'd wind up with pigs with urinary tract stones.

    I don't really know much about barley, but I've never heard of it being fed to guinea pigs. They actually need a grass hay -- that has the right about of protein that they need.

    Grass can be used, but there are some pros and cons. You need clean grass that hasn't been exposed to pesticides or animal urine or feces. Once you start with it, you have to feed pretty much the same amount every day, because variations in the amount of grass can cause digestive upsets for guinea pigs. You also have to worry about the calcium content of the grass. Unless you have some way to determine that, you won't know whether you're giving them too much or not.

    You're new to guinea pigs, and may not realize what a huge problem urinary tract stones are. They're incredibly painful for the pigs, and for your pocketbook. Most of us go to extreme lengths not to overload our pigs on calcium, although pigs can develop them even when eating a low calcium diet.

    There are several Australians on the board -- maybe they'll weigh in on places to get hay for pigs.

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    Cavy Slave SonicexA's Avatar
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    Re: What hay should I use? Can I use lucerne? Does fresh grass replace hay?

    Thanks, I'll look into the hay some more.

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    Cavy Slave Soecara's Avatar
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    Re: What hay should I use? Can I use lucerne? Does fresh grass replace hay?

    I live in South Australia and my local fodder shop sell two kinds of grass hay, oaten and wheaten (I personally feed oaten). He doesn't keep it in the store itself, it is in a shed out back so you have to ask for it. As far as I am aware Timothy is not grown in Australia, so the only way to get Timothy hay is if it has been imported. If you look at this chart ( http://www.guinealynx.info/hay_chart.html ) it lists types of hay, grass hay have their names in green and legume hays in yellow. It is also important to note Lucerne is also know as Alfalfa hay.

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    Re: What hay should I use? Can I use lucerne? Does fresh grass replace hay?

    I'm feeding my pigs barley hay at the moment. It's a cereal grass hay, so it's find to feed as a staple hay... it just makes them a little bit chubbier than usual I find, ha, and you just have to be wary if hay pokes, depending on the batch. Most times of the year I feed grassy (typically Rhodes grass), meadow or pasture hay. It's hard to get oaten and wheaten where I am. Different species of grass grow differently in different climates which is why we typically have different hays in Australia. Timothy grass is a cold weather plant I believe.

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